Landing an editing job at a nationally recognized publication is an honor that a University of Toledo grad was recently bestowed.Anna Neller, who started her master of sociology degree in August, was selected by the American Sociological Association (ASA) to be the 2014-2015 student editor of the Medical Sociology Newsletter.
She said, “[Being student editor] is still pretty brand new to me,” she admitted with a laugh. “But thus far, it has been an incredible experience. One of my first assignments was to develop interview questions for Reeder Award winners, Catherine Ross and John Mirowky. Conducting this interview was a true honor.”
“It is a unique opportunity because it’s for the ASA, which is one of the leading organizations for sociology. It’s in the field, the concentration that I most want to study — medical sociology. So this is incredible.”
The newsletter is a quarterly publication that serves as a platform, bringing together individuals that share a common interest in health, illness and medical care as sociological phenomena, according to the ASA website.
Neller also did her undergraduate work at UT majoring in interdisciplinary studies with a focus in disability and health care.
“Originally, I was a registered nursing student,” she recalled. “I really liked hearing the life stories of the patients and spending time with patients, but I did not care for the clinical aspect of interacting with patients such as administering shots or drawing blood. In fact, I actually spent most of my time talking to patients.”
Neller remembered Associate Sociology Professor Mark Sherry’s Health and Gender class, which she said was the moment that everything clicked for her.
“When I was taking the Health and Gender class, Dr. Sherry did a lecture on Holocaust victims,” she said. “Some of the first Holocaust victims were actually people with impairments. By far, that was one of the most profound lectures I had ever experienced. It was like a light bulb had been turned on in a dark room and I knew what I was supposed to be doing — helping anyone who’s been oppressed or had their human rights violated.”
In addition to being a student of Sherry’s, Neller also worked closely with him for several semesters, refining her approaches on both sociological methods and theories, reviewing disability literature. Currently, she is Sherry’s graduate assistant.
“It is an incredible achievement to be selected by the national leaders in medical sociology for such an esteemed position,” Sherry said. “Anna’s influence on the field will extend beyond graduate students, because her contributions will be sent to hundreds of professors across the country and the world. Her work will be widely read, and she will be able to help shape the contributions of medical sociology to the national dialogue on issues like health-care reform and bioethics.”
Neller said her goal is to earn her PhD and eventually teach at a university, which her position as editor will help her achieve. But for now, she is focused on completing her master’s degree and learning from her new job.
“My expectation is to be reaching out to fellow graduate students and making both intellectual and social connections with them. Ultimately, I want to collaborate with them in regards to further developments in the realm of medical sociology,” she said.